Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Perspective

Perpective
Subjective evaluation of relative significance; a point of view
The right perspective for the right problem. What is the proper point of view? It's interesting just how much perspective can influence one's decisions.

Examples:

When you're driving a car, your perspective should include the moving objects and environment out to a few seconds distance. Any narrower perspective, and you don't see a change to react in time. Any wider perspective, and you aren't devoting enough attention to changes to notice and react in time.

If you're writing, be it code or prose or secret love notes to pass in class, your perspective is pretty narrowly focused on the screen, inward focused to the thoughts you're trying to express.

If a huge fist is coming at your face, your perspective narrows almost completely to the fist - the speed and direction of arrival, your kinesthetic sense of where your nose will be at the time of impact. You only think of why the fist was coming at you, what could have done to prevent it, and where you're going to find a cold compress for your cheek sometime after the moment, when you can afford the broader perspective without being so penalized. Such a broad perspective at the time of "The Coming Of The Fist" would not have been appropriate to solving the immediate problem.

Perspective must be flexible. Just as your eyes need to adjust the focal point of the lens to be able to clearly see objects inches away to objects on the horizon, your perspective must adjust to the appropriate scope to the problem at hand.

(To carry an analogy to a Bridge Too Far, like your eyes it's likely your perspective loses some flexibility later in life, and it gets harder to see either the Big Picture or something Right In Front Of Your Nose.)

But sometimes determining the correct level of perspective is difficult. Say you enjoyed your job, but there were some impending changes that made the job really unattractive. One perspective, the day-to-day perspective, says to stick around, see how it goes, you need the money and you have to work somewhere anyway.

A slightly broader perspective says Life Is Too Short, that though leaving would entail some risk and perhaps financial loss, every day that goes by where work sucks is another day you can never get back - that you must Carpe that Diem and launch yourself into the big unknown.

An even broader perspective might say What Does It Matter, that in a million years humans will be extinct, that what you do or where you work won't have a speck of impact on the universe, So Just Fuckitall. The decision here could be similar to either of the prior two - FuckItAllItDoesntMatter so I'll just take the path of least resistance and keep plodding along Status Quo. Or. FuckItAllItDoesntMatter so let's just quit and See What Comes Up.
Perpective
The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance
How do we know when we're seeing the actual interrelations or the true comparative importance?

What's your perspective?

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